How To Clean Leather Sofa With Household Products? Complete Guide

24 min read

The following are three common home items that can be used to clean a leather sofa. Rubing Alcohol, Vinegar, and Dish Soap are the ingredients. Using baking soda, you can remove stains from a leather couch.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide to leather care, look no further. So by the time you finish reading this, you should have a better understanding of how to care for your sofa.

What is leather?

Real leather is a natural substance that is both warm and long-lasting, and each hide has its own distinct properties. Scratches, growth marks, sections of different fiber density, and hair pore structure are all signs of leather’s natural origin. These attributes have no effect on the leather’s ability to be worn comfortably.

Leather is made by curing animal skins, a process known as tanning. Most leather upholstery is made from hides, which are the skins from cattle.

Depending on the merchant, leather can be categorized into several grades. Customers who are persuaded to believe that the more expensive, or higher-grade leathers, are of a greater quality may find this confusing. Varied varieties of leather have different advantages, therefore this isn’t always the case.

One type of upholstery leather can be tanned by a single tannery. The cost of various post-tanning finishing operations is what determines the price range of leathers.

How To Clean Leather - This Old House

This means that when it comes to picking out a leather sofa, you have to choose between aesthetics and simplicity of maintenance. Chesterfield couches, as well as more contemporary styles, can benefit from leather upholstery.

How is upholstery leather made?

The tannery receives a cattle hide that has been salted in order to preserve it. When the hair follicles are dissolved and the skin is swollen to around 8mm (0.3 inches) in thickness, it is removed. The hardwearing grain surface of the upper layer is separated for use in upholstery leather after it is split through its thickness. After that, a chromium-based chemical procedure is used to color the hide.

Rather than using plant extracts and urine, this method has replaced the traditional method of vegetable tanning.

The hide is rated after it has been tanned and cured based on its size and the severity of any scars or blemishes. Full-grain leathers are typically made from hides that are less scarred, while corrected grain leathers are made from damaged hides that have been lightly buffed on the top surface.

What leather types are used for your furniture?

Leather sofas and chairs come in a variety of colors and textures. In terms of durability and appearance, pigmented leather is the most consistent, whereas aniline leather is more natural-looking but less resistant to soiling, Semi-aniline leather, the third variety, falls in the middle of the two. Detailed explanations of each category and their characteristics are provided below.

What is Pigmented Leather?

For the most part, furniture upholstery is covered in pigmented leather, which is the most long-lasting option. A polymer coating, which comprises pigments, is responsible for the product’s long-term stability. The coating might be embossed, printed, or plain with modern technologies. For example, scuffs and fades are less likely to damage the surface because of the coating.

What is Aniline Leather?

Animal hide’s inherent surface features are still discernible in aniline leather, the most natural-looking leather. The only way to color pure aniline leather is to use dye, not a polymer or pigment surface layer. A non-pigment coating may be put to the surface to enhance its appearance and protect it against spills and soiling.

Aniline leather will have some natural markings and shading variations because of its susceptibility to sunlight and the ease with which it absorbs liquids. Aniline leather sofas require special maintenance to keep it in top condition.

What is Semi-Aniline Leather?

Aniline leather will have some natural markings and shading variations because of its susceptibility to sunlight and the ease with which it absorbs liquids. Aniline leather sofas require special maintenance to keep it in top condition.

Are leather sofas comfortable?

As a result of the leather’s susceptibility to the effects of sunshine and the ease with which it absorbs liquids, certain natural blemishes and shade variations should be expected. A sofa made of aniline leather requires extra care to keep it looking its best.

For hundreds of years, leather furniture has been utilized in a wide range of settings where comfort is a top priority. When it comes to making their patients feel safe and comfortable during therapy sessions, they are a popular choice.

It is true that real leather sofas are among of the strongest and most durable on the market. Because leather is naturally water-resistant, it’s considerably easier to clean if something gets on it. For one thing, they don’t collect a lot of dust, which means you won’t have to spend as much time vacuum or dusting them.

Leather definitely shines when it comes to its ability to withstand the test of time. Because of its natural toughness, it will stand up well to daily use, and any scuffs it does acquire will only serve to enhance its charm.

Leather/fabric colors like as whites, creams, and ivory are more susceptible to dye transfer from non-colorfast clothing and textiles, so be careful of this. To be on the safe side, it’s always a good idea to read the labels on your clothing and accessories.

Glossary of leather terms


The term “grain” is commonly used to refer to the leather’s top layer, but it can also refer to the pattern of thin embossed lines that cover the surface of nearly all completed leathers.

Full-Grain Leather

It’s a sort of leather where the topmost layer hasn’t been tanned, making it full-grain leather. In retaining its natural smooth surface, any natural scars or blemishes will remain as evidence of the hide’s origin.

How to clean a leather couch: an expert guide | Homes & Gardens

Corrected Grain Leather

It’s a sort of leather where the topmost layer hasn’t been tanned, making it full-grain leather. In retaining its natural smooth surface, any natural scars or blemishes will remain as evidence of the hide’s origin.


All of the topmost layer has been left intact in full-grain leather, also known as top-grain leather. Due to its natural smooth surface, the hide’s scars and flaws will preserve their original appearance.

There is no hard-wearing grain surface on the underside or’split’, giving it the illusion of suede on both sides. Suede is made from this. Using a strong pigment coating on one side of a split to generate a fake grain surface has been used in several cheap leather production procedures. While the product’s appearance may be acceptable in some cases, it will quickly fail in usage, so it is best to avoid using this type of material.

No split leather is used in any of our products at Sofas by Saxon.

Our leather collection

When you order your quality leather sofa from us, you can rest assured that it will be upholstered using only the finest materials. Sectionals, sleeper sofas, and leather Chesterfield couches can all benefit from these new materials, which can be used on a variety of our products.

There are hundreds of various kinds of leather to choose from throughout the world when it comes to leather goods, and our crew has a great eye for quality. You’re sure to find the perfect sort of pigmented, semi-aniline, or aniline leather for your house among the many options available.

More than 70 different styles of sofas in the Saxon leather range await your selection. Many colors and textures are available, and we think they’re among the best and most up-to-date materials accessible. We can make a leather Chesterfield sofa in any color you like, whether it’s black, blue, gray, or any other shade. We’re convinced they’ll look beautiful on your furniture once they’ve been upholstered.

What’s The Best Home Remedy To Clean Leather Furniture?

General cleaning

After determining the type of leather used, determine if common cleaners like vinegar and dish soap can be used on your sofa. Test the cleaners on a hidden part of the couch to make sure there aren’t any responses. Specially formulated leather cleaning solutions will always be the finest choice for cleaning leather furniture.

Prepare your leather sofa for cleaning by vacuuming it first. This can help remove any dirt buildup that might become stained if exposed to water. Use an upholstery attachment to easily access the cracks and crevices as well.

Rubbing alcohol

Using rubbing alcohol to clean some types of leather should be safe. This household remedy should also be excellent if you want to disinfect the leather couch. However, because too much rubbing alcohol will dry out the leather, it’s critical to avoid oversaturating it.


A soft cloth should be soaked in a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. Clean the couch completely by squeezing out the remaining liquid and wiping it down. Then, use a dry towel to remove any residue left on the leather and apply leather conditioner.

Dish soap

Dish soap is the best household cleaner for leather. It’s less dangerous than rubbing alcohol and vinegar in drying leather. Still, it’s a good idea to test a small part of the couch before using dish soap to clean the entire couch.

Soak a soft cloth in a mixture of warm water and a few drops of dish soap. Before wiping the sofa, squeeze out any remaining moisture. Finally, wipe it down with a dry cloth and condition the leather before rinsing it with another damp cloth.

What Should You Not Use On Leather?

Hair spray

Ingredients and chemicals in hair spray can damage leather. Leaving a sticky residue, a stain, or even fading leather are all possible side effects. Although you can use it to remove hair dye from a leather couch, you should do so carefully.

Nail polish remover

In particular, acetone-based nail polish removers tend to fade leather. The leather couch’s polish can also be removed by these professionals. There are two methods for getting the nails out of the upholstery: using nail polish remover and cleaning the leather.

Disinfectant wipes

Wet wipes and sponges may include elements that are incompatible with leather. Discoloration, staining, and even textural changes might occur as a result of their use. For leather couch disinfection, use the proper cleaning chemicals.

Shoe polish

Because you use shoe polish on leather shoes, you might imagine that it can restore the leather sofa’s color and sheen. However, this product is not designed for use on leather furniture. Anybody sitting on the couch will be stained if you leave a waxy film on the surface.

What Household Items Can You Use To Condition Leather

Olive oil and vegetable oil can be used to cure leather, according to some persons. Lexol, neatsfoot oil, and mink oil are all excellent leather care products. You run the danger of oversaturating the porous leather if you use household oils.

Even if it appears that they are rehydrating the leather, this is merely a transient effect. As the oils build up in some areas of the sofa, you’ll start to see dark stains. Don’t forget to use items that will protect and hydrate your couch to ensure its long life.

How Do You Make Leather Look New?

After cleaning and conditioning leather with leather-formulated materials, it is feasible to restore it. If this doesn’t work, you’ll want to consult an expert to avoid hurting your leather sofa more. This may be a pricey option, but if the leather couch is of high quality and has sentimental value, it should be feasible.

9 Leather Sofas for an Effortlessly Chic Living Room

Best Overall: Interior Define Winslow Leather Sofa

Upholstered in pigment-dyed leather with a down blend or down alternative and a seat depth of 24 or 29 inches, this sofa can accommodate up to two people.

With its simple lines and timeless detailing, “the Winslow Sofa is my go-to leather sofa,” adds Ramirez. “There is also a wide range of sizes, cushions, and leg styles to choose from, allowing you to create the perfect aesthetic.”

You can choose between a foam-down blend or a down-alternative fill for this three-seater sofa. You can choose between two seat depths: 35 or 40 inches for the Winslow, and it’s available in two different lengths.

A staggering 18 distinct leg styles and eight neutral pigment-dyed leather upholstery options are available. In addition, a 60-day return period is available, and a 2-, 3-, or 5-year warranty can be purchased as an add-on.

Best Budget: Edloe Finch Park Sofa (Vegan Leather)

82x35x35-inch dimensions; vegan leather upholstery; foam and faux feather filling; 24-inch seat depth

The Park Sofa by Edloe Finch is a more economical option. Comes with your pick of black or gold metal legs and a camel-colored vegan leather upholstery. The 82-inch broad couch features one long seat cushion filled with durable foam and artificial feathers, making it both stylish and comfortable. Because this sofa is so well-built at such a reasonable price, you can’t go wrong.

Best Splurge: Jayson Home Maxwell Sofa

It measures 80 inches in height, 32 inches in width, and 31.5 inches in depth, with a top-grain leather upholstery and an unidentified filling.

Here’s a sofa worth splashing out on: the Maxwell by Jayson Home. Elegant button tufting, antique nailhead trim and hardwood legs add to the vintage feel of this attractive couch that was inspired by the cigar leather furniture of the late 1960s. Although it’s a little on the large side at 80 inches wide and has two generously sized cushions, it should fit comfortably in most living rooms.

Best Sleeper: Pottery Barn Buchanan Roll Arm Leather Sleeper Sofa

Top-grain leather upholstery; polyester/foam mattress; 23-inch seat depth are some of the features of this sofa.

We love Pottery Barn’s Buchanan Sleeper because it allows you to turn your couch into a bed, and we think you will, too. Overstuffed top grain leather upholstery comes in 28 different colors and is upholstered to a width of 87 inches on this kiln-dried wooden frame with rubberwood legs. You can also discover berry red and forest green in addition to more traditional selections like caramel and espresso.

This sofa has a built-in Queen-size mattress composed of gel-infused memory foam for optimal comfort when you need it most. Your out-of-town guests will appreciate how comfortable it is as well as how nice it looks.

Best Sectional: Apt 2B Jude 2pc Leather Sectional Sofa

Full-grain leather upholstery; foam fill; a seat depth of 20 inches; 116 x 63 x 27 inches in overall dimensions

Nothing beats kicking back on a leather couch, especially if it’s a long one. Two-piece Jude by Apt2B is a solid wood frame with full grain upholstery and high density foam. We’re in love with it. A few tiny features, including knife-edge tailoring and slightly flared arms, make all the difference in this stylish couch’s wonderfully soft and adaptable nature. For a couch you’ll never get bored of, choose between saddle brown or graphite upholstery.

Best Loveseat: Allform Leather Loveseat

Inches in length, width, and depth: 63 x 38 x 34 inches; 63 x 38 x 34 inches; 63 x 38 x 34 inches.

If you’re looking for something a little more compact, consider a loveseat, such as this stylish modular option from Allform. 63 inches wide and 24 inches deep, it has a kiln-dried and laminated wooden frame. Cushioning and a tempered steel grid structure are included beneath the top-grain leather upholstery to ensure long-term comfort and durability. Three distinct types of wooden legs are available, as are two different shades of upholstery: whiskey or dark smoke.

Best Modular: Burrow Arch Nomad Leather Sofa

Dimensions: 85 x 35 x 35 inches | Upholstery: Top-grain Italian leather | Fill: Foam and fiber | Seat Depth: 22 inches

This chair’s dimensions are 85 inches wide, 35 inches high, and fill is foam and fiber. Its seat depth is 22 inches.

Best Chesterfield: Anthropologie Lyre Chesterfield Two-Cushion Leather Sofa

With a 23-inch seat depth, this chair is ideal for lounging around the house or relaxing in a hotel room.

Ramirez considers the Chesterfield to be the most traditional form of leather sofa. There are “rolled back and tufting” on the Lyre, which she describes as having “all the classic elements.” For a classic aesthetic, this style can easily be paired with traditional or transitional styles as well as modern or eclectic styles.

There are three sizes and three leg and two hardware options for this custom-made item, which is upholstered in full-grain leather (additional upholstery options are available). While the opportunity to personalize it makes it an heirloom-quality piece, returning it will incur a significant restocking fee.

Best Kid & Pet-Friendly: Castlery Jonathan Leather Sofa

Top-grain leather upholstery; foam and fiber fill; 24.4-inch seat depth are some of the features that make this chair unique.

Is there a young child or a pet in your house? The Jonathan Sofa by Castlery may be your best bet. Caramel or taupe leather upholstery is available in this model, and it’s scratch-resistant and easy to clean in the case of a spill. In addition to the exceptionally deep seat, the chair’s wood structure, sinuous spring suspension and low profile make it even more strong and long-lasting.

What to Look for in a Leather Sofa


When purchasing a leather sofa, color is an important factor. Neutral colors including brown, black, beige, and taupe can be found, as well as a few brighter shades.

According to Ramirez, “certain leathers will get a lot of personality and patina through time, while others will remain much closer to the original look”. It doesn’t matter if the color is unusual or bright; it still has the same effect.


A wide selection of design styles and colors are available for leather sofas, in addition to the many different shades. There are a wide variety of alternatives, including midcentury modern designs with clean lines and low profiles, plush modern options, modular arrangements, and sectionals.

For clients who want a “contemporary, classic aesthetic,” Ramirez frequently advises Chesterfield sofas. These include sofas with square arms and circular ones as well as rolled arms, as well as high backs and barrel backs.

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Frame Material

When you’re looking at several possibilities, don’t forget to consider the material of the frame. I prefer a solid hardwood such as poplar or rubberwood (kiln-dried) with heavy-gauge hardware, but you can’t go wrong if it’s built of plywood. Tempered steel is the most reliable material to choose when purchasing a leather sofa with a metal grid, suspensions, or sinuous springs.

Leather Type

Full-Grain and Aniline leather are the most commonly utilized varieties of leather in furniture. The oil-absorbing characteristics of full-grain leather remain intact, so it will patina and only improve over time.

Aniline dyes, commonly known as Full-Grain, are water-soluble synthetic colors used in the dyeing process of Aniline leather. Enhances any blemishes, scars and wrinkles in the leather to give it a more realistic appearance.


How do you clean a leather sofa?

Once a week, use a dry microfiber cloth to dust your leather sofa, and once every two weeks, use a vacuum attachment with soft bristles to clean it. Pre-saturated leather furniture wipes or a mild soapy solution and a clean cloth can be used for more thorough cleaning. Carefully wipe down the entire area, then use a new microfiber towel to go over it one more.

How do you repair peeling on a leather sofa?

A leather filler, whether it’s a paint, putty, or restorative liquid, can often be used to repair peeling upholstery on a sofa. A putty knife or small brush can be used to smooth and even out the peeling material by applying it to the peeling material.

A patch may be necessary in some circumstances, as well as the liquid leather filler. A leather upholstery repair specialist may be able to help if the damage is extensive or you are unable to fix it yourself.

What are the pros and cons of a leather sofa?

Leather furniture is more expensive than its fabric-upholstered counterpart, but the material is far more sturdy and long-lasting. For families and high-traffic areas, “it is a prudent alternative,” says Ramirez.

It is possible to find vegan leather furniture for those who do not want to harm animals. There is a superficial resemblance, however the upholstery is usually less comfortable and lasting. Genuine leather has a unique personality as it ages and softens. Furthermore, neutral-colored leather sofas are not only long-lasting but also remarkably adaptable, allowing you to use them in a variety of ways for many years to come.


Maintaining your leather furniture is still important, and we recommend that you apply the correct leather care solutions. However, rubbing alcohol, vinegar, and dish soap may all be used to clean a leather sofa if you’re serious about learning how to do it at home. Use these items sparingly, and be sure to condition the sofa afterward, since some of these treatments can be drying.

Please feel free to ask any questions you may have about leather maintenance in the comments section below.



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